PHANTOM OF THE RUE MORGUE-1954-Color/3-D remake of Edgar Allen Poe's MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE (brilliantly executed by Robert Florey and Bela Lugosi in 1932).
After several grisly murders of women, Ivan (Paul Richard), a knife thrower is accused of killing the latest victim. A police inspector (Claude Dauphin) thinks Ivan has the ears of a killer (?) but has to let him go. He interviews folks at The Sorbonne where he meets Prof. Daupin (Steve Forrest), a psychologist who profiles the killer for the inspector. Daupin also introduces Dr. Morais (Karl Malden), a zoologist with a red herring servant (Anthony Caruso), a belligerent eye patch wearing goon. Daupin becomes a suspect when his (stolen) brooch is found on a victim. Later another detective arrests him after a victim is stuffed up his chimney. The inspector goes out of his way to proof (frame?) Daupin even though it's obvious he couldn't be the murderer. Jeannet (Patricia Medina), Daupin's assistant/fiance tries to help. Of course Morais is the actual villain who's pet gorilla (Charles Gemora) is doing all the murders. He framed Daupin because he's sweet on Jeannet and his wife committed suicide. But mostly he's plain crazy. The ape is attracted to bells on a bracelet each victim wore. Unfortunately after Moray whips the hairy killer, it goes ape (no pun intended!) and kills again. Witnesses see Morais and his pal so it exonerates Daupin. When the police come to get Moray he sets a lion loose. The ape climbs a tree with Jeannet in tow. Before its death by shooting it kills its master.
Director Roy Del Ruth started his career with Max Sennett and later directed the original version of THE MALTESE FALCON in 1931. He made TOPPER RETURNS, THE BABE RUTH STORY and many other mid and low budget programmers. One of his last was THE ALLIGATOR PEOPLE (1959).
INTERPOL CONNECTION-(Zhi zun te jing aka HARD TO KILL)-1992-Nearly an hour goes by and this is a standard cops vs. gangsters drama with Robin Shou as an arrogant Hong Kong government agent tracking a drug smuggler (director Phillip Ko) in Manila. There's shoot-outs, car chases and an annoying comedy relief detective, a real whining buffoon who still acts like a clown even after his partner is gunned down. However late in the story Yukari Oshima (aka Cynthia Luster) shows up as another Interpol agent who teams up with Shou for a decent martial arts finale that almost saves this badly made bore-fest (although Oshima moves are very good).
Stunt coordinator Dion Lam later worked on big Hollywood productions like THE MATRIX and SPIDER-MAN 2.
SHOOT FIRST, DIE LATER-(IL POLIZIOTTO E MARCIO)-1974-Violent Italian crime drama with a corrupt cop Domenico (Luc Merenda; also in LE MANS & TORSO) working for the mob. He roughs up drug dealers who try to horn in on The Mob's territory and mostly ignores their crimes. It kind of pisses off the gangsters (one of them is American actor Richard Conte, who had been feature in THE GODFATHER two years before) because he doesn't want to be involved in the new enterprise of gun running and wants more money from them. Two weird looking thugs kill a witness and his pet cat and one other goon is a drag queen. All goes well, until his father (also a kind of police commissioner) learns of his son's deceitful ways when Domenico wants him to turn over some evidence. He gives sonny the report but is killed anyway. Then Domenico's girlfriend is brutally beaten and strangled. He gets revenge on the killers but in the end is shot in the head by another corrupt cop. There's too much talk, car chases and running around to distinguish this from anything thing else. Director Fernando Di Leo also made THE ITALIAN CONNECTION and a few other crime dramas.
DEATH ON THE DIAMOND-1934-Interesting drama set in the world of major league baseball. The St. Louis Cardinals aren't given much chance of winning but their owner/manager Pop Clark (David Landau) stakes everything on an egotistical pitcher Larry Kelly (Robert Young). Things take an upward turn but gamblers try a fix. When they give another pitcher 10 thousand dollars to blow a game he instead throws a no hitter! The gangsters cause a car wreck that injures him. Thrown in his the typical love triangle with Larry, Pop's daughter Frances (Madge Evans) and slugger Spencer (Joe Devlin) who is shot to death before scoring a game winning run! It's obvious he was killed by someone in the stands but a stupid cop thinks Kelly did it out of jealousy! Ted Healy is featured as O'Toole, a dumb umpire (with bad eyesight) everyone calls Crawdad. Nat Pendelton plays another player who's poisoned. After another star pitcher is killed Pop wants Kelly to pitch but Frances objects. It turns out the mob had nothing to do with the killings. It's the work of a crazy groundskeeper! Somehow Kelly wins an important game with an inside the park home run in the finale.
Mickey Rooney and Edward Brophy are in it too as well as un-credited roles by Walter Brennan, Ward Bond, Bruce Bennett, Marc Lawrence and Bobby Watson and lines like "You can't tell the American people they can't have baseball!".
Director Edward Sedgwick started in silents, directed several Buster Keaton sound films, the terrible Laurel & Hardy feature AIR RAID WARDENS and many forgotten low budget films. His last work was on TV's I LOVE LUCY.
AGE OF THE DRAGONS-2011-This nonsense is called a 're-imagining" of Melville's MOBY DICK. But instead of the crew searching for the great white whale they are looking for a white dragon. Over acting Danny Glover is Ahab, the whispering white dragon obsessed captain. New recruit Ishmael (Corey Sevier) learns about hunting with his pipe smoking companion Queequeg (Kepa Kruse). Rachel (Sofia Pernas) is Ahab's tough adopted daughter. For some reason Ahab kills the Starbuck character mid way through. Vinnie Jones (Juggernaut in X MEN: THE LAST STAND) is also in it. The dialogue and acting are outrageous! It almost seems like the actors are reading their lines off of cue cards! Filmed in Utah by director Ryan LIttle.
2012-2009-This big budgeted Hollywood science fiction disaster film fails in almost every category. It's plot is similar to several low budget cheapies that occasionally run on SYFY channel.
A writer Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) tries to help his ex-wife (Amanda Peet), his two children and her new husband (Thomas McCarthy) when global destruction of apocalyptic proportions starts destroying the Earth. Danny Glover is the stupid president of our evil government and Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 YEARS A SLAVE) is a geologist called in to help but winds up butting heads with asshole chief of staff Oliver Platt. Thandie Newton (THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS) is the president's daughter who steals the Mona Lisa. All the major heads of various countries get together to embark on space arks. After many narrow escapes, Jackson and company hook up with a Russian billionaire who has a huge plane ("It's Russian") that can take them to China where according to a map provided by conspiracy theorist/DJ Charlie Frost (Woody Harrelson) they can find safety.
Scenes show the destruction of Hawaii, the Effiel Tower, the Washington monument and Christ of The Andes which figures since director Roland Emmerich known for such swollen budget catastrophes like THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW and the US version of GODZILLA also made this. The movie he made before 2012 also had a year as its title (10,000 BC). The SFX run from very good to very poor (especially considering the budget).
HIT MAN-1972-Crazy blaxpoitation film with a lawyer Tyrone Tackett (Bernie Casey; also in the TV horror movie GARGOYLES the same year) investigating his brother's death. He locks horns with wimpy gangster Huey (Roger E. Mosley) and gets involved with porno movies when he discovers his niece Rochelle (Candy All) is an actress in them. He also crosses path with a white gangster Zito (Don Diamond; Crazy Cat on the '60's TV show F-TROOP). A stand out funny role is delivered by Sam Laws as Sherwood, a friend of the dead guy. Pam Grier (after roles in THE TWILIGHT PEOPLE and THE BIG BIRD CAGE) is featured as a prostitute (going topless)nudity who winds up getting eaten by a tiger!
This is full of characters (especially Casey) in outrageous outfits and terrible hip dialogue ("I Have not yet get to get on your case,brother"). A disgusting highlight is an illegal dog fight. It's pretty stupid but still entertaining. John Lupton appears briefly as the director of a commercial. Director George Armitage later made VIGILANTE FORCE and GROSSE POINTE BLANK.
It's based on the novel JACK'S RETURN HOME by Ted Lewis which was also the basis for the 1971 fim GET CARTER. Marilyn Joi (using the name Tracy Ann King) i s also in it.